If you’re anything like me, you find that the older you get the less reliable your memory becomes.  I’m in no way old, and actually have a fantastic memory, but it seems with every year, my recall is just a little less ironclad than it was the year before.  This is why I highly recommend one practice for any winerd, foody, or traveler… journaling!

I have a journal from each of my trips, and I write down, the special moments from each trip, that I am worried I’ll forget.  I also take plenty of pictures, but not relying on the pictures to tell the story for me.  I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but if you have pictures and a journal you have fifty thousand words.  (That’s the standard length for a novel, by the way.)  Even if you’re the only one who ever sees your pictures, and reads your journal, it’s worth keeping track for the very fact that your memories will be reinforced in your mind by recording them.

There are three reasons I journal along with my pictures.

  1. I’m a story teller.  As you can probably tell from this blog, I love to tell stories.  As a writer, I also want to challenge myself to tell the story in a way that would help someone visualize the pictures I took without ever showing the pictures to them.
  2. Pictures can’t always capture the moments worth remembering.  For example, my trip to Firenze started with a chance meeting with a woman who didn’t speak any english and we managed to carry on a conversation for 20 minutes, then she put me on the phone with her son.  Now, someone could have taken a picture of us talking, or a picture of her handing the phone over to me with her son on the other end, but no one would be able to see that picture and understand the beauty contained in two strangers sharing the connection she and I shared.
  3. I can stay in the moment, and relive it later.  With photos I have to in some way remove myself from the moment I’m enjoying, in some cases that’s not only worth it, but ideal.  Sight-seeing is meant for photography, but travel is meant for experiencing.  This is how I distinguish what mode I decide to be in.  If I’m traveling I’m in the moment soaking it all in, if I’m sight-seeing I’m documenting the sights I see.  Every trip you take will have moments that are meant for both modes.  Picking your moments, however, to be a traveller rather than a sight-seer will help you experience the moment in a completely different way than you could if you are taking the time to document the moment.

Journaling works for me in all the areas I love.  I have a wine journal, recipe journal, and a travel journal, not to mention my regular every day journal.  I can’t say I always journal everything that I wish I would have, but this is a discipline I’m working on, and one I certainly found helpful for every trip I’ve taken.  How about you?

What is your favorite travel journal?  How do you record memories, do you wait until the trip is over or do you journal at the end of each day?  Do you add pictures and mementos once you’re done writing (creating a scrapbook), or do you keep your journal a journal?